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Julia Wolf: The Anti-Valentines Pop Girl

Written by Emilia Wisniewski

March 2, 2023

Love was in the air at Brighton Music Hall on February 14– and not because of Valentine’s Day. Several couples arrived attached at the hip, while many friend groups, in their 20’s, enjoyed a girls night out in classic Galentine’s fashion.

Nishtha Gupta, an assistant researcher at a lab and Julia Wolf superfan, came to the show alone and left her partner behind.

“I told my boyfriend, ‘sorry, I’m going to go see Julia [Wolf] because I’ve known her longer than I’ve known you,” Gupta said.

Wolf, an indie pop artist hailing from New York, released her first single in 2019 and quickly gained traction in the music scene. According to an interview with Headliner, she writes all her own lyrics, co-produces her music and takes the lead on every one of her graphic design projects. In an interview with Headliner Magazine, she said her independence comes from her being a “painfully shy” person. While that may be true, her performances cannot be described as anything but confident.

Wolf released her debut album “Good Thing We Stayed” this past January, in reference to her almost moving to Italy with her father after trying for years prior to break into the music space. She was convinced to stay in the U.S. by her dad because he felt as though her music would take off soon — and it certainly did.

Right at 9 p.m., Wolf came on stage with a mostly white outfit, save for a big red heart on her chest and red heart clips in her half-up hair. Her first song was slow and stripped down, warming up the crowd to join her in scream-singing her most relatable ballads. Wolf has a speciality in writing songs curated for a Gen Z audience that manages to feel personal. Other artists, like GAYLE and Leah Kate, also have implemented this style, but the difference with Wolf is that she prioritizes making music enjoyable for both her and her audience. Wolf’s show in Boston is a top-contender for having the most energetic crowd, as everyone was moving and singing with her. Their enthusiasm could be in part due to Wolf’s opener, Bronze Avery.

Fresh off the release of his own debut album “SOFTMETAL” in 2022, singer-songwriter Bronze Avery joined Wolf on tour as an opener. With his stylized voice and bubbly personality to match, Avery’s music proved to be infectious. His music made the crowd close their eyes and dance, with the beat bumping in everyone’s chest and his vocals gracing the audiences’ ears. Avery was very proactive in audience engagement, asking the crowd to shout the title of his love song “Boys!”. His style is pop at heart with trap influences — Avery himself cites Charli XCX and Tove Lo as large inspirations in his music. During the show, he insisted that, “if you think you’re a big fan [of Julia Wolf], I promise I’m a bigger one.”

While her newest record differed slightly from her other projects being more introspective, her novelty is still as present as ever. Her growth as an artist is clear when comparing her previous singles to now; vocally, she has more range and the production has significantly improved, without losing the personable quality. Songs like “Hot Killer” feature her signature bite, but tracks like “Now” provide a more subtle and intimate look into Wolf as more than just her artist persona, but into her.

The lights in the venue shined bright pinks, whites and reds onto Wolf as she paced the stage singing “Fuck falling in love, I’m way past it / Doesn’t even matter for somebody like me” from older track “Falling in Love.” A lot of the anti-love songs that Wolf performed spoke to the caveats of modern-age dating; hook-up culture, dating apps and not finding “the one” are all themes of Wolf’s love songs.

Long-time fan Catherine Smith said that she felt the show was more “self-love” than anything though.

“I think it was an alternative to Valentine’s Day,” she said. “It was nice to have plans that were on Valentine’s Day that weren’t with a partner.”

Julia Wolf is still a burgeoning artist but she packs a punch with every song she releases. Her anthem songs are what make her, but the shift to heartfelt and personal ballads prove her growth and versatility that will surely make her more successful as her passion continues to drive her onwards. Many people at Brighton Music Hall thought it a good thing that she stayed.

The Fenway Recording Sessions is a concert series that’s been happening in Boston since 2004. Hosted by Fenway Recordings founder, Mark Kates, the series features some of today’s biggest and most interesting indie bands in the city’s best small live venues. The hundreds of artists that have played under the Sessions banner in nearly the past 2 decades include Diplo, fun., Alt-J, Ellie Goulding, The Wombats, Tegan and Sara, Hot Chip, Cold War Kids, Echo and the Bunnymen, Femi Kuti, Fountains of Wayne and Fenway artists from Mission of Burma to MGMT to The Cribs. We are nearing the 500th Session show, and the series continues to be a source for fresh live music in the city of Boston.

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